Fall of the Investment Banking Giants


Just months ago, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch were considered to be among the top 5 investment banks. They were the so-called bulge bracket firms – the premiere league players, the Ferraris, the LVs…

They are now all gone.

Bear was acquired by JP Morgan Chase for just US$10 a share in May 2008.

Merrill Lynch has just been acquired by Bank of American for a more reasonable US$29 a share, while the poor Lehman Brothers could not find a suitable buyer and had to file for bankruptcy – rendering its shares worthless overnight.

Many employees may be retrenched soon.

With Citigroup shaky, this recent turn of events leaves the world with just 2 ibanking giants – Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

If you’re an ibanker, consider yourself lucky if you work for MS or GS. Hold on dearly to your jobs.

For those who will be displaced, take care. Hope you have enjoyed yourselves and saved up a bit while the good times lasted.

Maybe an investment banking career isn’t that good after all. See my previous posts on ibanking:


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  1. Let’s see how GS and MS are doing in their upcoming quarterly reports.

    There are other smaller ones also that seems to be doing alright, e.g.: Barclays Capital. A friend of mine just got an offer from a private fund house to double his already-5-digit salary.

    There’s still hope out there if you have marketable skills and you network a lot.

  2. Wow time to watch the market crash and burn and then to pick up some bargains…I have been waiting since 911, not gonna miss this boat. Hurray!!!

  3. Market is crashing and burning..Was too young during 911 to do anything but my reserves are ready..I ain’t gonna miss this boat. =)

  4. this is jux the start of a crisis. a global contagion which is, at best will be short and sharp; at worst a long protracted depression.

    noone will be spared. banks and financials are the first to be hit and adjust, followed by the other sectors and lastly common folks on the street.

    im not very optimistic about the outlook for sg in the next 2-3 years. call me a pessimistic bear but history, facts and figures do not lie.

  5. Yet another reason to always strive to be a cut above one’s peers. When the job market gets worse, only the best can survive. Networking and building and demonstrating expertise remain key.

  6. It’s times like this that makes man on the street like you and I feel better. IBankers have been having it too good for too long. At least we are all equal now. To the IBankers who have been treating us peasants as peasants, driving their fast cars and snatching our girls…..every dog has its day! ha.

  7. very interesting times we are in. i still think that investment banking is a great place to start out because of all the skills that you learn. just don’t be too used to spending so much money and save your bonus for a rainy day

  8. Not everyone in ibd is as vicious as you think. If you actually know where the revenue from ibs come from, you will target the right group.

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